New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman recently grilled the New York City of Time Warner Cable's division over a direct mail campaign promoting “a picture-in-picture guide that’s so simple even somebody from New Jersey can use it.”
Whitman sent a letter on Sept. 6 to Time Warner asking the company to “find ways to promote Time Warner's services without making gratuitous digs at the people of our state.”
In a prepared statement, Barry Rosenblum, president of Time Warner Cable in New York, responded, “The advertisement referred to by Governor Christine Todd Whitman was written solely in the spirit of the well-known, lighthearted New York/New Jersey rivalry. We did not mean to offend anyone and as a result of your concerns, it will be discontinued.”
The mailing consisted of a brochure promoting Time Warner’s digital television services.
DTV is the company’s newest product. It offers more than 200 digital channels, 29 premium channels and 50 “In Demand” pay-per-view movies and events.
The brochure contained a page that referenced the DTV picture-in-picture program guide and its ease of use.
A Time Warner Cable customer from Queens, New York, sent the information to Whitman, who felt the message suggested that New Jersey residents were technologically challenged. Whitman blasted the message’s play against New Jersey residents and wrote two paragraphs about New Jersey’s technological prowess.
The DTV direct mail campaign launched in February and was halted as soon as the New Jersey governor’s letter was received.
Time Warner Cable, a division of Time Warner Entertainment, reported that its business in New York City represents the largest contiguous cable operation under one management in the world. The division serves more than 1.2 million customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens.
Several inquiries to Time Warner Cable about the direct mail campaign went unreturned. It is unknown how many subscribers received the brochure.